July 23, 2024

Prince of Monaco reels in Mirahmadi in Del Mar Futurity

Prince of Monaco outfinishes upset-minded stablemate Mirahmadi in the Del Mar Futurity (Photo © Benoit Photo)

Prohibitive 1-20 favorite Prince of Monaco got the job done in Sunday’s $300,500 Del Mar Futurity (G1), but stablemate Mirahmadi made him work to preserve his unbeaten record. Either way, trainer Bob Baffert was going to rack up a 17th win in Del Mar’s closing-day feature.

Prince of Monaco had crushed his two starts by a combined margin of more than 12 lengths, following up his Los Alamitos premiere with another display in the Best Pal (G3). Mirahmadi, on the other hand, had yet to flatter his track announcer namesake; the thrice-raced maiden was becoming an habitually beaten favorite. Yet the well-bred son of Into Mischief picked a good time to take a step forward.

In addition to their common barn, the pair represent nearly the same ownership consortium spearheaded by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, and Madaket Stables. The one difference between their partnerships is that Prince of Monaco’s breeder, Stonestreet Stables, has retained an interest in the $950,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling.

When Prince of Monaco broke from the rail, regular rider Flavien Prat coolly waited on developments. Mirahmadi then advanced from post 2 to grab the lead, and the 15.60-1 shot got bold on the front end for Juan Hernandez. Winging through fractions of :22.18 and :44.75, the “other Baffert” was still galloping with gusto turning for home.

Favorite backers might have felt a twinge as Prat began to nudge the stalking Prince of Monaco. But the Speightstown colt offered reassurance by responding to tackle Mirahmadi in the stretch. While his lesser-fancied companion knuckled down and refused to yield, Prince of Monaco had his measure by three-quarters of a length. Note that he was also spotting Mirahmadi five pounds.

Next Level crossed the wire another 3 3/4 lengths back in third. Next came Raging Torrent, Mary’s Boy Bolt, and Rothschild. Valiant Knight was withdrawn upon advice of the veterinarian.

Prince of Monaco’s time for seven furlongs, 1:22.65, was about a tick off Tamara’s clocking of 1:22.41 in Saturday’s Del Mar Debutante (G1). The dark bay has now amassed $327,000 from his 3-for-3 line.

“It was the right kind of trip we were looking for,” assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. “We weren’t sure about Mirahmadi, where he was going to be placed in the race, but he left there running. Prat just got comfortable on the inside and when he needed to get to the outside he did and he accelerated. He’s pretty push-button, pretty straightforward. I’m very proud of both of them.”

“He broke well,” Prat noted, “and I thought I was going to go to the lead. But other horses went for it, so we waited. On the turn, he made his move and we made the lead. His teammate (Mirahmadi) was trying hard. But I think my horse was just waiting for something to come up to him. That didn’t happen.

“Can he run on?” Prat repeated when asked about Prince of Monaco’s potential distance capacity. “We won’t know until it happens, but he’s done everything right so far.”

Well-named as a son of Rainier, by Medaglia d’Oro, Prince of Monaco comes from the further family of Grade 1 winner Adieu. Rainier is herself a half to multiple stakes-winning and Grade 2-placed sprinter Laurie’s Rocket, as well as another black-type speedster in Greeley’s Rocket. Also nearby on the page is Grade 3-placed stakes scorer Necker Island.

Del Mar Juvenile Turf (G3)

Endlessly stretches clear in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf (Photo © Benoit Photo)

Earlier, meet-leading rider Hernandez guided Amerman Racing’s homebred Endlessly to an emphatic 2 1/4-length victory in the $101,500 Del Mar Juvenile Turf (G3), topping the exacta for trainer Michael McCarthy. Stablemate Lord Bullingdon, who had been a distant second to Prince of Monaco on debut, was along for runner-up honors again on the stretch-out and surface switch here.

Endlessly had won at first asking, by the exact same margin, over this course and distance July 30. The son of turf star Oscar Performance was reserved further off a hotter pace on Sunday, and again uncorked a potent closing kick.

Boltage, the 1.10-1 favorite, chased closer in third early as longshots dictated the tempo. Des Doigts rattled off an opening quarter in :22.71, then Bear River took up the baton through the half in :46.61. Boltage drew to within a half-length of Bear River passing six furlongs in 1:11.44, but by that point, Endlessly was circling with intent.

Overwhelming the favorite upon straightening into the lane, Endlessly pulled away to complete the mile in 1:35.28. Boltage was relegated to third when Lord Bullingdon passed him late. Andreadytorumble rallied from last for fourth. Bear River tired to fifth, trailed by Glandford; McCarthy’s slow-starting European recruit, Sea Singer; and the eased Des Doigts. Osage Creek was a vet scratch.

“I had a good trip,” Hernandez recapped. “Mike (trainer McCarthy) told me the horse had really been training well. When you hear that, you don’t get nervous out there if you get in a little trouble. You know the horse is going to run strong. My horse did that today. I was tracking the favorite (Boltage) and when I got by him, I knew I was in good shape.” 

“The horse had drawn a little bit outside today,” McCarthy said of Endlessly’s breaking from post 7 in an eight-horse field, “and I told Juan just go ahead and bounce out of there and hopefully not get yourself stuck too far out in the middle of the racetrack around the first turn. The horse was attentive to him and he put himself in a great spot. He looked like he was always traveling comfortably. It did look like Juan took it to him a little early. It just seemed like he couldn’t wait any longer, and he was able to finish off nicely.”

McCarthy had a banner day with his juveniles, winning two preceding maiden special weights on the closing-day card. Sandy Bottom, a filly from the first crop of Omaha Beach, showed speed to take her 5 1/2-furlong unveiling on the main track. Next, fellow firster Formidable Man, a son of City of Light and Grade 2 queen Fanticola, was determined to prevail over a turf mile.

Now 2-for-2 with a bankroll worth $109,200, Endlessly is related to current Hawthorne Derby hero Act a Fool. Both are by Oscar Performance, and their dams are half-sisters. Endlessly is out of the Langfuhr mare Dream Fuhrever, from the immediate family of Grade 1-winning millionaire Coffee Clique and multiple Grade 3 victor Admission Office.